You've just come from happy hour with some people from the office. You get in your car and on the way home traffic slows down. A policeman motions for you to go over to a specific area and stop your car. You've just been pulled over at a DUI checkpoint. You have rights in this situation but do you know them?
The California Supreme Court decision in Ingersoll vs. Palmer legalized DUI checkpoints in California. It did come with many strict guidelines and policies that must be followed.
A DUI checkpoint in California must be approved by a supervising officer. They cannot be conducted on a whim. The DUI checkpoint must be known to the public prior to it being conducted. There must be an approved method of checking vehicles. It could be every other car that is pulled over or every fourth car, but there has to be a defined method used.
A police officer at the DUI checkpoint will make a determination if the driver is under the influence. They will be looking for slurred speech or an odor of alcohol and bloodshot eyes. At this point a police officer may ask a person their name and to see their registration and driver's license. A police officer can also ask if the person has had anything to drink. A person only has to answer questions concerning their identification.
If a police officer suspects someone of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs they can ask the person to perform a variety of field sobriety tests. This could consist of everything from standing on one leg for 30 seconds to walking with one foot in front of the other with their arms spread out. A person does have a right to refuse to take a field sobriety test.
If a police officer suspects someone is driving under the influence they may also ask the person to take a preliminary alcohol-screening (PAS) test. Under the California Vehicle Code people are not required to blow into a hand held machine unless they're on probation or less than 21 years old. A person must provide their breath in a large Breathalyzer test machine or submit to a blood test, otherwise the DMV will suspend the persons' driver's license for 1 year.
If you've been arrested at a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) checkpoint in Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Menifee, Hemet, Lake Elsinore, Perris, Banning, Corona or Riverside, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. At the Law Office of Nicolai Cocis, we have the knowledge and experience to inform you about your rights in such a situation. Contact us today and learn more.